I’m not sure why I decided to have a heart attack over the holiday, but my body decided it was time and didn’t really give me a chance for input. I should qualify it a little bit. I didn’t have an actual heart attack according to the final tests, but the preliminary tests were all red flags and shouting.
So, I woke up in the middle of the night on Wednesday night with a pain in the left side of my chest. My left arm was hurting and tingling with numbness.
Now, it is not something new. I have arthritis in my rib cage and I tend to sleep on my left side. So, although the pain was concerning, it was not reason to make a middle-of-the-night dash to the emergency room. I eventually got back to sleep on my right side. I was sluggish and ill the next morning, but I got a lot of house cleaning done and the chest pains were gone.
Thursday night the pains returned, but still not different than the arthritis pains that sent me to the cardiologist before, and not nearly as harsh and painful as the night before. Again the pain went away in the day.
Friday night I picked up my son the Marine at the airport. He was home on holiday leave. We talked about my chest pains over a meal at I-hop. He pulled rank on me and vowed to take me to the ER. I talked him down to Primacare because it’s cheaper, still not believing it was real heart pain.
The next morning Primacare didn’t go so well. The EKG machine there predicted a major earthquake… or a typhoon, or something… and the Prima-doctor got all serious in the face. “Do you want me to call an ambulance? We are required to make the offer in these situations.”
“No, no. My son is with me and can drive me to the Emergency Room. I promise I will go.”
And so I did.
At the ER they are very concerned that you don’t have anything in your pockets. They quickly dressed me in a hospital gown and then surgically removed $200 (due to the wondrous way my insurance company has of not paying their portion of the bill). So, lighter by that amount, they immediately hooked me up to their own EKG machine. I had so many patches attached to the hair on my chest that I was guaranteed to be bald-chested when it came time to rip them all off again. Then they repeated the EKG testing done earlier in the day. I swear, the same squirrel that was visiting Primacare when I was there earlier, sneaked into their EKG machine too and vigorously jumped up and down. So, there it was. The proof they needed that I had too much money left in my bank account. And so they put me inside the hospital.
Once inside, they rigged me up so one arm could be crushed by a BP sleeve every two hours, or more if they felt like it, and the other arm could be drained of blood so that they could tell if there was any further money in my bank account.
Three days later, the enzymes in my blood said that what I had was mysterious and not a heart attack. The stress test I had on Monday nearly killed me, and told them that I didn’t have enough money left in my bank account to keep in the hospital any longer. I got out still wearing my arm band and allergy warning band as reminders that I really, really didn’t want to go back, but life is like that, and I still don’t know what caused it all, or if I will have to return to deal with it later on.